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Blood: A Memoir

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The Grammy- and Academy Award- nominated singer-songwriter's haunting, lyrical memoir, sharing the story of an unthinkable act of violence and ultimate healing through art Mobile, Alabama, 1986. A fourteen-year-old girl is awakened by the unmistakable sound of gunfire. On the front lawn, her father has shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Allison Mo The Grammy- and Academy Award- nominated singer-songwriter's haunting, lyrical memoir, sharing the story of an unthinkable act of violence and ultimate healing through art Mobile, Alabama, 1986. A fourteen-year-old girl is awakened by the unmistakable sound of gunfire. On the front lawn, her father has shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Allison Moorer would grow up to be an award-winning musician, with her songs likened to "a Southern accent: eight miles an hour, deliberate, and very dangerous to underestimate" (Rolling Stone). But that moment, which forever altered her own life and that of her older sister, Shelby, has never been far from her thoughts. Now, in her journey to understand the unthinkable, to parse the unknowable, Allison uses her lyrical storytelling powers to lay bare the memories and impressions that make a family, and that tear a family apart. Blood delves into the meaning of inheritance and destiny, shame and trauma -- and how it is possible to carve out a safe place in the world despite it all. With a foreword by Allison's sister, Grammy winner Shelby Lynne, Blood reads like an intimate journal: vivid, haunting, and ultimately life-affirming.


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The Grammy- and Academy Award- nominated singer-songwriter's haunting, lyrical memoir, sharing the story of an unthinkable act of violence and ultimate healing through art Mobile, Alabama, 1986. A fourteen-year-old girl is awakened by the unmistakable sound of gunfire. On the front lawn, her father has shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Allison Mo The Grammy- and Academy Award- nominated singer-songwriter's haunting, lyrical memoir, sharing the story of an unthinkable act of violence and ultimate healing through art Mobile, Alabama, 1986. A fourteen-year-old girl is awakened by the unmistakable sound of gunfire. On the front lawn, her father has shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Allison Moorer would grow up to be an award-winning musician, with her songs likened to "a Southern accent: eight miles an hour, deliberate, and very dangerous to underestimate" (Rolling Stone). But that moment, which forever altered her own life and that of her older sister, Shelby, has never been far from her thoughts. Now, in her journey to understand the unthinkable, to parse the unknowable, Allison uses her lyrical storytelling powers to lay bare the memories and impressions that make a family, and that tear a family apart. Blood delves into the meaning of inheritance and destiny, shame and trauma -- and how it is possible to carve out a safe place in the world despite it all. With a foreword by Allison's sister, Grammy winner Shelby Lynne, Blood reads like an intimate journal: vivid, haunting, and ultimately life-affirming.

30 review for Blood: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    Allison Moorer's excellent 2000 album The Hardest Part is a song cycle about an on-and-off relationship, and as such it covers the highs and lows, the breaking up and getting back together, the anger and sadness and love and lust. After the last song, "Feeling That Feeling Again," fades out, there's a pause, and then a hidden track, "Cold Cold Earth," starts up. This song tells the story of the early morning when Moorer's father shot and killed her mother and then himself on their front lawn. Mo Allison Moorer's excellent 2000 album The Hardest Part is a song cycle about an on-and-off relationship, and as such it covers the highs and lows, the breaking up and getting back together, the anger and sadness and love and lust. After the last song, "Feeling That Feeling Again," fades out, there's a pause, and then a hidden track, "Cold Cold Earth," starts up. This song tells the story of the early morning when Moorer's father shot and killed her mother and then himself on their front lawn. Moorer and her sister, singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne, both teenagers at the time, were in the house when it happened. If you're a fan of Allison Moorer and/or Shelby Lynne, as soon as you hear about this you immediately want to know more, and with Blood Moorer finally obliges. The result is as tough a read as you might imagine. It's difficult to overstate how sad this book is. As Moorer herself notes, this subject is never closed. You just don't get closure on your father killing your mother on your lawn and then turning the gun on himself. Just because someone can write lyrics and music doesn't mean they can write a book, but as it turns out, Moorer has an MFA in creative writing from The New School, and it shows here in the best possible way. Blood is an astoundingly effective portrayal of an Alabama childhood and a vivid portrait of both of her parents. Where it's most memorable, though, is simply in conveying what it's like to grow up in an abusive household with an alcoholic father. Moorer is not shy about revealing the ways both she and Lynne struggled and still struggle with the reverberations of not just the murders but everything that preceded them. It's not that optimistic; it doesn't end particularly happily. But you will close this book having learned a few things about what we carry with us into the future when our past is just about as dark as it can possibly be.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Brutal, and totally absorbing. Allison Moorer is among my favorite singer songwriters, I now understand, perhaps better than I would like, her haunting Dying Breed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ron S

    Astonishing. While the facts of this heart wrenching story are well known, Moorer's gifts as a writer, in the telling, come as a revelation. Highly recommended. Astonishing. While the facts of this heart wrenching story are well known, Moorer's gifts as a writer, in the telling, come as a revelation. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Blood by Allison Moorer **Unthinkable Tragedy **Unspeakable Abuse **Unimaginable Courage **Unforgettable Memories **Unchangeable Love **Unordinary Storytelling Warning - Graphic Allison ~ "A lot of these things, I've had to try to unlearn. Some of these things, I will never unlearn." Blood by Allison Moorer **Unthinkable Tragedy **Unspeakable Abuse **Unimaginable Courage **Unforgettable Memories **Unchangeable Love **Unordinary Storytelling Warning - Graphic Allison ~ "A lot of these things, I've had to try to unlearn. Some of these things, I will never unlearn."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Gutknecht

    Non-fiction/Memoir Allison Moorer and her sister are fairly well known singer-songwriters. What isn't well known is that their father shot their mother and then shot himself. Blood is Allison's story. Her life growing up in rural Alabama leading to the death of her parents. There are some stories throughout that touch on her life after the tragic event, but primarily the book focuses on the ages of about 5 to 14. Allison's ability to write beautifully and thoughtfully are without question. Love is Non-fiction/Memoir Allison Moorer and her sister are fairly well known singer-songwriters. What isn't well known is that their father shot their mother and then shot himself. Blood is Allison's story. Her life growing up in rural Alabama leading to the death of her parents. There are some stories throughout that touch on her life after the tragic event, but primarily the book focuses on the ages of about 5 to 14. Allison's ability to write beautifully and thoughtfully are without question. Love is rarely a simple concept when people get their hands on it, and it certainly wasn't simple in our family. It was there, but it wasn't a grounding force, it was something we chased. Her memoir is filled with anecdotes and the "chapters" progress non-linearly which gave the book a disjointed dreamlike quality. The pages are filled with her desire to understand, come to peace with the events and move on. As such, some points are belabored. She keeps coming at the problem from different angles trying to come up with an alternate ending. Writing a review of a memoir is always tricky. These are the author's memories and stories, so who am I to critique them? All I can then do is write about my experience of reading theirs. The prose is gorgeous, but the story dragged for me. Anyone from a dysfunctional family will relate to this memoir and will find that Ms. Moorer has done an excellent job of expressing the feelings and results of growing up that way. I read somewhere that one of the best things a person can do is to "give up hope for a better past." Here I sit, trying to work it all out, not giving up that hope at all, trying to find proof that we weren't and aren't ruined by it all. The only proof I have of that is who we ended up being. We are okay, but we are not unbroken. The verdict, however, is still out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tinichix (nicole)

    There are just some memoirs that you think about long after listening to them or reading them, they are just that impactful. This will be one of those. It is incredibly powerful. This is not an easy, happy listen. It is very hard to hear a lot of portions of her reality. The life of Allison Moorer. Allison Moorer is a singer-songwriter and award winning musician that is sharing her life with us in the memoir titled "Blood". In Alabama in 1986 Allison was 14 and woke to gunfire. In her very own fr There are just some memoirs that you think about long after listening to them or reading them, they are just that impactful. This will be one of those. It is incredibly powerful. This is not an easy, happy listen. It is very hard to hear a lot of portions of her reality. The life of Allison Moorer. Allison Moorer is a singer-songwriter and award winning musician that is sharing her life with us in the memoir titled "Blood". In Alabama in 1986 Allison was 14 and woke to gunfire. In her very own front yard her father shot and killed her mother and then turned the gun to himself to take his own life. She tells us how she started praying very early on for her dad not to hurt her mom and that she was always afraid her dad would indeed end up killing her mom. Almost like a premise. We learn about the many ways her life has forever been altered and the true meaning of trauma. Allison is still trying to find her safe place in the world many years later and still learning how to heal. I think it's important for me to note that I don't necessarily rate a memoir in the same manner I would a novel. I don't think it's fair to rate someone's memoir as if their career or hobby is as an author or writer. More often than not they are not writers and they are just willing to share their raw and imperfect life with us, so just as life is raw and imperfect I expect their piece of work to be also, to a certain extent. Most of the time they have help yes, but I don't think it is fair to use the same critiques and use the same set of standards when they are not making a living putting pen to paper. Some of the things that make a memoir stand out to me are how it makes me feel, what emotions it stirs up in me, does the author make me feel for them and feel connected to them without even knowing them. Am I thinking about the book even when I'm not reading it, am I thinking about it after I have finished it. Does it make me want to help make change in the world or advocate for something. Do I recommend it to other people, and did it hold my attention. All that being said this was very well written. This was done very very well. It is amazing. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to dig this deep to write this and share this. Not only for a memoir but in daily life. It didn’t take long for me to become emotional listening to this. And it didn’t take long for me to begin thinking of other people that would appreciate this piece of work. It is incredibly descriptive in places. It contains many potential triggers. Murder, suicide, physical and emotional abuse, addiction, depression, and animal abuse. If you avoid certain triggers you may want to look into this more. I don't want to say this was "good". "Good" doesn't feel right. This is incredibly eye opening and powerful and in terms of grief and healing is a very worthwhile listen or read. I am not sure she genuinely gives herself enough credit for what a strong individual she is. I think she is a perfect example of survival, and that you just function, you just do what you have to do, still all these years later. I chose to do this as an audio book and would encourage anyone else to do the same. I think some times hearing someone speak their own truth is even more powerful than reading it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elsie

    I probably wasn't in a good place to go through this right now. I listened to the audiobook as I had it on hold from the library and it came available. Plus I'm stuck in my apartment in quarantine. It's read by Allison Moorer. I think I'll buy the book though because there are a lot of places I want to read through again. It's a coincidence that I've been engaging with people with accounts of personal trauma to tell over the last several months, this one coming right on the heels of another one. I probably wasn't in a good place to go through this right now. I listened to the audiobook as I had it on hold from the library and it came available. Plus I'm stuck in my apartment in quarantine. It's read by Allison Moorer. I think I'll buy the book though because there are a lot of places I want to read through again. It's a coincidence that I've been engaging with people with accounts of personal trauma to tell over the last several months, this one coming right on the heels of another one. The stories themselves, the effects of what people have done and responses are affecting me a lot right now. I wouldn't read this if you feel vulnerable. I won't hide this for spoilers because it says what happens in the book description. This is a really well written account of childhood trauma. Ms. Moorer and her older sister had parents that suffered. Their mother was abused by their alcoholic father who controlled and abused her and both daughters and eventually killed their mother and himself. He was an alcoholic, he was abusive, selfish, controlling and violent. There's enough time since, that it seems she can write about it simply, directly, looking to understand and acknowledge how much this has affected her and made her and her sister's life what it is. It's a hard story to hear. Maybe if you don't find something you need from hearing in a survivor's story you'll wonder why you'd want to read such a thing. I registered upset and pain from this, in a setting that outside of the terrible events could have been idyllic. But the telling is true and beautiful, even if I don't know why you can say something like that about this. I guess it's because trying to find a meaning and answers from tragedy and pain always come back to forgiveness or acceptance and caring?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bennett

    My god this is a brutal read - in a good way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily Wilson

    Incredible! Powerful! Sooo raw and hits too close to home! I would love to share hours of talking and coffee with Allison Moorer..

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    This was gorgeously written and heart-wrenching beyond all belief. That she was able to put it all into words astounds me a little. This is a work of art and one of the best memoirs I've read. This was gorgeously written and heart-wrenching beyond all belief. That she was able to put it all into words astounds me a little. This is a work of art and one of the best memoirs I've read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    Blood is a heartbreaking memoir by Allison Moorer, the country musician. I love music and have a few of her albums, but I had no idea about her history. I didn’t know she was Shelby Lynne’s sister, or that she married Steve Earle and later, Hayes Carll. I am a huge fan of Earle and Carll, but had no idea of their connection to Moorer. I also had no idea that Lynne and Moorer’s father murdered their mother before killing himself. Battered woman are most likely to be killed when they leave and she Blood is a heartbreaking memoir by Allison Moorer, the country musician. I love music and have a few of her albums, but I had no idea about her history. I didn’t know she was Shelby Lynne’s sister, or that she married Steve Earle and later, Hayes Carll. I am a huge fan of Earle and Carll, but had no idea of their connection to Moorer. I also had no idea that Lynne and Moorer’s father murdered their mother before killing himself. Battered woman are most likely to be killed when they leave and she was leaving—and he must have believed she was really leaving. Moorer was just fourteen and Lynne a recent high school graduate. What a devastating thing to happen and at such a young age. She talks about decimation, how it is losing a tenth, but she lost her mother and father. She lost half her family. She also grew up in a home terrorized by the whims of an angry man. Of course, he could charm, he could be fun, and of course, there was love. But there was also fear. That is a hard thing. Moorer writes about her memories, trying to unearth the reality of her mother and her father. There is the natural and unrewarding effort to ask what if. There is the natural and unrewarding assumption of complicity and blame. She recounts the times she thinks she should have done something or said something—but we know and she, in her mature wisdom, knows that this was a death dance that began before she was even born. There were two actors who could have changed the trajectory and they are both dead. Blood excells at capturing the chaos and unpredictability of living with a violent alcoholic. The chapters skip from past to present and from happy memories to terrifying ones. Moorer is a songwriter. Songwriters are poets. She has the poet’s felicity with language. Reading her memoir is at times beautiful and at times harrowing. I loved her memoir and yet will not recommend it to everyone. If reading about violence and the abuse of women, children, and animals is traumatizing, this book will be traumatic. However, I do think there is much of value to reading this memoir. Moorer reveals her manifest coping skills, even as a child. She reveals the negative effects of growing up with an abusive father, how it affects adult relationships, though she speaks in general, not specific terms. She asks why her mother stayed and comes to understand the threat—her father threatened to kill not just his wife, but their children and her parents. It seems to be possible her mother put her life in jeopardy to save her children. Protection. This memoir is informative, harrowing, and hopeful—in the end, it is hopeful more than anything else. I received an ARC of Blood from the publisher through Shelf Awareness. https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    exceptionally sad story of her father's murdering her mother and then killing himself, with author (age 14) in the house at the time, and all the traumatic consequences for her and her older sister [both musicians -- I'd heard of her sister Shelby Lynne, but not really familiar with their music]. Their father had violently assaulted his older daughter and wife and drank apparently all the time, so the extended family was not surprised as such, but still of course shocked. You get a little about he exceptionally sad story of her father's murdering her mother and then killing himself, with author (age 14) in the house at the time, and all the traumatic consequences for her and her older sister [both musicians -- I'd heard of her sister Shelby Lynne, but not really familiar with their music]. Their father had violently assaulted his older daughter and wife and drank apparently all the time, so the extended family was not surprised as such, but still of course shocked. You get a little about her life in mid-40's with second husband and son, who has autism, but it's mostly a childhood memoir, told in fragments/anecdotes, not as a linear narrative. Basic story is gripping, and she can certainly write, bringing to life for instance just how central music has been to her and her sister's lives. All told, though, it didn't quite cohere for me as a reader through almost 300 pages. It felt like hearing someone I don't know talking about a tragic experience all evening.......and then coming back for more the next day and the next, after which she sends you her diary to read. I certainly get why and how it would become defining experience for her, but reading something this long and this focused on the incident is also an endurance challenge.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mama Cass

    While music has always been a strong and faithful companion throughout my life, I confess I had not heard of Allison or her sister Shelby. But I will confess, I know what it's like to be a daughter of an alcoholic, to be constantly moving, to feel terrified, to be on the run, to be dirt poor. Moorer has written a memoir about her childhood, her life before and after her father shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Moorer is a brilliant writ5e and paints scenes with her wo While music has always been a strong and faithful companion throughout my life, I confess I had not heard of Allison or her sister Shelby. But I will confess, I know what it's like to be a daughter of an alcoholic, to be constantly moving, to feel terrified, to be on the run, to be dirt poor. Moorer has written a memoir about her childhood, her life before and after her father shot and killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. Moorer is a brilliant writ5e and paints scenes with her words, unlike any I've come across. This is difficult to read, due to the violence and cruelty as her father was abusive. Heartbreaking and still somehow uplifting read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tracee

    This book is one that I would recommend to someone who has went through anything traumatic in their life. It shows that you are not alone and that what you go through in your past makes you who you are today. It’s ok to remember what you’ve been through, even if it’s hard, as long as you keep going everyday. I felt like this was a healing thing for the writer and that writing your thoughts down about what you go through in life is a form of therapy. I think it would help anyone going through a d This book is one that I would recommend to someone who has went through anything traumatic in their life. It shows that you are not alone and that what you go through in your past makes you who you are today. It’s ok to remember what you’ve been through, even if it’s hard, as long as you keep going everyday. I felt like this was a healing thing for the writer and that writing your thoughts down about what you go through in life is a form of therapy. I think it would help anyone going through a difficult time to write it down even if no one sees it. I’m glad I read this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Beautiful I really couldn’t understand my attraction to this book, after hearing Allison Moore’s on NPR. Why should I want to read a book so similar to my own childhood? I am so very grateful I did. So beautifully and well written. She has such grace dealing with her painful childhood memories. You cannot change the past. You can only learn to go from here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth Farley

    Stunning.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    An absolutely powerful memoir perfectly read by an author I've never heard of. This is the story of Allison Moorer and her sister Shelby "Sissy" Lynn and what it was like to both live with and without her dad. This is not revealing any spoilers because he ended up killing their mother and himself when she was young and this memoir is probably one way of coming to grips with all they endured and survived, and the lasting effects his abuse and suicide/murder had on their lives. Many times authors An absolutely powerful memoir perfectly read by an author I've never heard of. This is the story of Allison Moorer and her sister Shelby "Sissy" Lynn and what it was like to both live with and without her dad. This is not revealing any spoilers because he ended up killing their mother and himself when she was young and this memoir is probably one way of coming to grips with all they endured and survived, and the lasting effects his abuse and suicide/murder had on their lives. Many times authors should really have someone else narrate their books, but I think she was perfect for this book. She has obviously had years of therapy because although I could feel the emotion behind her words, she remained relatively calm and matter-of-fact throughout, detailing the events and the things she felt or said or heard. Throughout, she reminds us that what she remembers about certain events may not be the entire truth, in part because she was young when many of these events took place, but you still feel her pain and how scared she must have been and how even now, she has flashbacks/PTSD from certain events/triggers. I found myself on the edge of tears throughout this book. This is not an easy read, and yet, I couldn't turn away. I found myself captured by her writing and while this is not particularly uplifting, it tells the story of how events can affect us for the rest of our lives, but it's up to us to take what we can from it. I imagine that there is no way Allison and Shelby can ever come to complete peace over what happened; this is a forever journey for them. She also talks about her autistic son and some of the ways he's able to look at the world that helps her reexamine her own views and that came across as rather poignant. Honestly, this was one of the most tragic tales I've read, but it was really written and told well. Now it's time for me to look up their music. I'm listening to Cold, Cold, Earth and man, it's tearing my heart out!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    I've been a casual fan of Allison Moorer's music for many years, and the same goes for her sister, Shelby Lynne (Moorer.) I don't know why I didn't pick up this book and read it sooner. (I picked it up last year, but it's been sitting on my shelf with too many others.) I had a vague notion of the subject matter. It's in the first sentence of the dust jacket blurb, so I don't think it is a spoiler to say that I was aware that the two of them were sisters and that they grew up with an abusive alco I've been a casual fan of Allison Moorer's music for many years, and the same goes for her sister, Shelby Lynne (Moorer.) I don't know why I didn't pick up this book and read it sooner. (I picked it up last year, but it's been sitting on my shelf with too many others.) I had a vague notion of the subject matter. It's in the first sentence of the dust jacket blurb, so I don't think it is a spoiler to say that I was aware that the two of them were sisters and that they grew up with an abusive alcoholic for a father, who shot and killed their mother before shooting and killing himself, as they were teenagers. I just don't think I ever thought I wanted to read that story. I was wrong. Allison's book is an amazing walk through trauma, desperation, memory, hope, hopelessness, confusion and growth...but most of all, it is a treatise on love. I've never read anything quite like it. As compelling as the subject matter may be, it is Moorer's skill as a writer that makes this a book that I am going to recommend to my friends, those both familiar with the author and those not. Truly a remarkable story and way of telling it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Krokowski

    Alison Moorer is a great writer. No surprise if you’re already a fan of her songwriting, which if you’re not I highly recommend her. As a woman who also had an Alabama girlhood, I was aware that she and her also fabulous singer songwriter sister Shelby Lynne had lost their parents gruesomely as teens. Not surprisingly, this book is not an easy or lighthearted read in any way. Yet like most difficult things, it’s highly worthwhile.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    This harrowing memoir begins the day Moorer's father murdered her mother right outside their rent house, and then turned the gun on himself. First shot....four seconds....second shot. Her book is her attempt to make sense of her life before and after this traumatic moment, and to rebuild her parents' lives, and to understand, if she can, their marriage. I did not know Moorer is a singer-songwriter, along with her older sister, who writes the preface here. Allison also released an album of the sam This harrowing memoir begins the day Moorer's father murdered her mother right outside their rent house, and then turned the gun on himself. First shot....four seconds....second shot. Her book is her attempt to make sense of her life before and after this traumatic moment, and to rebuild her parents' lives, and to understand, if she can, their marriage. I did not know Moorer is a singer-songwriter, along with her older sister, who writes the preface here. Allison also released an album of the same title...i listened with a greater understanding of the tragedies the girls survived. The audible allowed me to hear the sisters' voices...so very different, but full of love. The result is moving and meaningful. The memoir shifts from reflections on seemingly disconnected events and objects, an attempt to reconstruct her parents' lives before they married, and the destructive nature of their relationship, and some details of her adult life... How do you survive when your parents leave you a legacy of murder-suicide? I hope the Moorer sisters can. Will. Have.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    On the day that their estranged father shot and killed their mother on the front lawn of their little Alabama house before doing the same to himself, Allison Moorer was just fourteen years old and her sister, Shelby Lynne, was almost eighteen. What happened on that August 12, 1986, morning may not define their lives, but it forever changed who they were and who they would become. Allison Moorer’s Blood: A Memoir is their story. “There are parts of a heart that can never heal once they are broke On the day that their estranged father shot and killed their mother on the front lawn of their little Alabama house before doing the same to himself, Allison Moorer was just fourteen years old and her sister, Shelby Lynne, was almost eighteen. What happened on that August 12, 1986, morning may not define their lives, but it forever changed who they were and who they would become. Allison Moorer’s Blood: A Memoir is their story. “There are parts of a heart that can never heal once they are broken. There is no glue that will hold.” (Allison Moorer, page 14) Blood is Allison Moorer’s book of memories, and as such, it is told from her point-of-view, but one of the book’s most touching parts is the short “Foreword” written by her older sister, Shelby. Shelby has also written about her parents and their marriage but she says that she “always wondered where Sissy was in it.” She realized that each of them always had their own memories about living with their parents, but that in her memories Allison is always “in the background.” Now having read her sister’s book, Shelby knows exactly where Allison was all those years ago: “While I was trying to protect Mama and watch our failing parents’ every move, Sissy was there scared, worried, alone, suffering, and I never knew it. She was there hanging back, hanging tough, watching, observing, worrying, testing the waters of her world, waiting…We were together.” There is no doubt that the sisters know where each other are now. They are best friends, bonded forever by what they endured and experienced as children. Somehow, even though they can never forgive their father for taking their mother from them when she was only 41, neither of them hate the man. Instead, they hate what he did. Allison Moorer’s father was an alcoholic who felt that he had married the most beautiful woman in the world. And he was a jealous man, one convinced that there was a man “around every corner” who wanted nothing more out of life than to steal his wife away from him. He wanted, and he had because his wife couldn’t stop him from taking it from her, the authority to “approve her every action.” But according to Moorer, although never diagnosed as such, her father may have had other issues. She almost hopes he was bipolar, schizophrenic, or suffering some other kind of borderline personality disorder because she does not want to believe that it could have been just plain old “meanness” that made him “erase” her mother the way that he did. Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne may have survived the trauma of their teen years, but they did not come out of the experience whole. They are, and will always be, emotionally scarred by the actions of the first male role model in their lives, an impatient, angry man who was disappointed in himself and his failure to earn an independent living for his family. Moorer recalls how, “He always seemed to have something on his mind. I was always careful about what I said around him. I never wanted to bother him and risk him directing his anger at me.” As the older sister, it seems Shelby was not so fortunate, and she was more often struck by their father. One of the saddest segments of Blood is the barely-two-pages-long one titled “What happens when you hit your daughter” detailing how a daughter’s personality will forever be changed for the worse by an abusive father who strikes her – especially when it comes to how she deals with every man with whom she will have any kind of relationship for the rest of her life. Those two pages are among the most difficult to read pages I’ve ever encountered in my life. Bottom Line: Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne are lucky to have had music in their lives to help them through the most difficult days of their childhood and their adulthood. Both women have enjoyed successful music careers - although Shelby seems to struggle to see it that way sometimes - in the music industry, but even their music is influenced by the childhood trauma they suffered. Blood tells the story of two remarkably strong women who are always there for each other, two women determined not to repeat the all too common mistakes of their parents. They are trying to break the cycle for good.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sterling

    I don't feel particular good about leaving a less than five star review for Blood. It was moving memoir, in which the author makes herself incredibly vulnerable in the pursuit of her goal. That goal is never explicitly stated, but that's because words can't always capture the more complex motivations of the mind. It was wonderfully written, with a mastery of story telling and artistic expression that you wouldn't expect from a debut author. As said author is a famous musician, it is more easily I don't feel particular good about leaving a less than five star review for Blood. It was moving memoir, in which the author makes herself incredibly vulnerable in the pursuit of her goal. That goal is never explicitly stated, but that's because words can't always capture the more complex motivations of the mind. It was wonderfully written, with a mastery of story telling and artistic expression that you wouldn't expect from a debut author. As said author is a famous musician, it is more easily understandable. I'd never heard of Moorer or her sister before encountering this book, and feel as though I missed out on the significance of aspects of the story due to that. It's incredible difficult to review any memoir, let alone one such as this. The reason I can't rate this a five star book is experiential in nature. The format of the book made it heard to digest, with three long form chapters that were frequently broken up with tangential anecdotes, or thoughts that weren't presented linearly. While it detracted from my experience, I don't think it was poorly executed. It's just one of the subjective things that didn't resonate with me, but others might love.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Becoming wise enough to know that I'll remain at least somewhat broken and letting go of the idea that I shouldn't be is another one. Day-to-day will have to do.” When now singer Allison Moorer was just the tender age of fourteen, she woke up to the sound of gunshots. Her life was then turned upside down by finding both her mother and father in their rural Mobile, Alabama front yard, dead. Papa had killed Momma before turning the gun on himself and leaving Allison and her older sister orphane Becoming wise enough to know that I'll remain at least somewhat broken and letting go of the idea that I shouldn't be is another one. Day-to-day will have to do.” When now singer Allison Moorer was just the tender age of fourteen, she woke up to the sound of gunshots. Her life was then turned upside down by finding both her mother and father in their rural Mobile, Alabama front yard, dead. Papa had killed Momma before turning the gun on himself and leaving Allison and her older sister orphaned. In this deeply personal account of Moorer's turbulent childhood, she bears her wounds for all to see and shares with us the little things she clings to to get her and her sister through, mainly her family's shared love of making music. Something they definitely got from their parents. Although her style of writing isn't my personal "cup of tea", the honesty and vulnerability of Moorer's personal account of staring tragedy in the face swept me up and carried me through from start to finish. 3.5 solid stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyndy Berryhill

    *****TW: Abuse/Alcoholism/Suicide***** This was an incredible read. I loved everything about it. The writing and imagery felt so real. Moorer's Grammy AND Oscar level songwriting skill shines with her lyrical, descriptive prose. She covers a multitude of emotions in varying degrees as she narrates her traumatic and abusive childhood. Her father was an explosive alcoholic. Out of desperation, fear, and selfishness, he murders her mother and takes his own life one night as Moorer and her sister lay *****TW: Abuse/Alcoholism/Suicide***** This was an incredible read. I loved everything about it. The writing and imagery felt so real. Moorer's Grammy AND Oscar level songwriting skill shines with her lyrical, descriptive prose. She covers a multitude of emotions in varying degrees as she narrates her traumatic and abusive childhood. Her father was an explosive alcoholic. Out of desperation, fear, and selfishness, he murders her mother and takes his own life one night as Moorer and her sister lay in bed. Yet no scene or sentence feels forced. It's a delicate subject and a complicated one, too. It is clear to me that this book is so much more than a memoir of a tragic upbringing. It is memoir of hurt and healing. The companion album is also great. In fact, both Moorer and her sister's music (Shelby Lynne) is worth a listen. I would read this again cover-to-cover if I had the time tonight.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Koen

    A heartbreaking and very well written memoir. I've been peripherally aware of Allison Moorer and her sister Shelby Lynn and and some of their songs have ended up in my favorites lists. I was never aware though of the tragic events of their childhood. It's heartbreaking to read what Moorer had to experience at such a young age and from the pages you can clearly feel, totally understandably, that this is something she's still dealing with everyday and probably forever will. The book mainly deals wit A heartbreaking and very well written memoir. I've been peripherally aware of Allison Moorer and her sister Shelby Lynn and and some of their songs have ended up in my favorites lists. I was never aware though of the tragic events of their childhood. It's heartbreaking to read what Moorer had to experience at such a young age and from the pages you can clearly feel, totally understandably, that this is something she's still dealing with everyday and probably forever will. The book mainly deals with her early childhood years and memories up to the death of her parents, not so much the years since or her later career. I think it's a good book, it's just not exactly my sort of book and i may find it dragged on a bit at some points. But hey, this is the kind of book that is first and foremost of benefit to the author herself. I'm glad she was able to write it and doing so well in life. And i'm glad i've read it, listening to the accompanying music she wrote with it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Allison Moorer’s memoir bears witness to an unspeakable string of traumas: Her father’s emotional and physical abuse, culminating in him murdering Moorer’s mother and then killing himself. Moorer lifts this heavy weight with amazing grace. Her book exudes empathy for sister Shelby and their mother, who bore the worst of it. It tries to find some understanding for why the man was who he was, yet it’s also unflinching in tracing the collateral damage, all the ways in which the trauma reverberates. Allison Moorer’s memoir bears witness to an unspeakable string of traumas: Her father’s emotional and physical abuse, culminating in him murdering Moorer’s mother and then killing himself. Moorer lifts this heavy weight with amazing grace. Her book exudes empathy for sister Shelby and their mother, who bore the worst of it. It tries to find some understanding for why the man was who he was, yet it’s also unflinching in tracing the collateral damage, all the ways in which the trauma reverberates. The writing is beautiful and carefully considered; passages call back to previous chapters, cross-referencing themes and images and ideas. At least two sections caused me to shut the book, pause, and weep. Harrowing, candid, deep. Includes grace notes that never seem like they came easy. An amazing book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cyndie Adamski

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Such a sad book about a family devastate by an abusive parent with alcohol issues. The wife couldn’t leave and was abused. Like most of these situations she couldn’t protect her children from the same fate at her husbands hand. Like most of these stories the pattern repeated when the daughters married . I found the book to be a bit redundant at times. Was a choppy read because it took some detours with writings and song lyrics become part of the book. The family was talented musically and maybe i Such a sad book about a family devastate by an abusive parent with alcohol issues. The wife couldn’t leave and was abused. Like most of these situations she couldn’t protect her children from the same fate at her husbands hand. Like most of these stories the pattern repeated when the daughters married . I found the book to be a bit redundant at times. Was a choppy read because it took some detours with writings and song lyrics become part of the book. The family was talented musically and maybe if the father got a break it may all have been different. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to friends.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    What a moving remembrance of murder and abuse written with heartfelt simplicity. The title and subject matter don’t convey the real story. It’s just a woman trying to rectify her awful childhood and rise above it. I hoped writing this story would relieve some of her burden, but I don’t think it did. I have never heard of her or her sister and after a Google search was glad to see that they both are at least successful in their professional lives, if not in their personal ones.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Rusinak

    Quite an amazing story. I can't imagine dealing with what she and her sister had to go through. Sadly, its a story which all too many, I'm sure, are all too familiar with. The good news is that Allison seems to have come out the other end of this nightmare whole. With a successful career and a beautiful son and family, she has (hopefully) broken the chain of domestic violence and that good news makes reading this rather dark, troubling and very sad tale so very worth it. Quite an amazing story. I can't imagine dealing with what she and her sister had to go through. Sadly, its a story which all too many, I'm sure, are all too familiar with. The good news is that Allison seems to have come out the other end of this nightmare whole. With a successful career and a beautiful son and family, she has (hopefully) broken the chain of domestic violence and that good news makes reading this rather dark, troubling and very sad tale so very worth it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Allison Moorer is an excellent singer/songwriter and when I discovered that she had wrote a memoir, I was intrigued. She had a terrifying childhood, growing up in Alabama and experienced the murder/suicide of her parents. This is a memoir about strength and survival. The writing is beautiful. This is also a very good audio edition, with Moorer narrating herself.

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